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BBC news executives step down, Newsnight’s future uncertain

Written on:November 12, 2023
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Before he quit, George Entwistle warned staff that disciplinary action could be taken

Helen Boaden, head of BBC news and her deputy Steve Mitchell have stepped down from their responsibilities, after it emerged that George Entwistle, BBC’s former director-general, refused to take responsibility for errors by the journalists. Meanwhile, investigations are still on by Pollard inquiry, which is looking at why a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile scandal was dropped.

BBC news reported that Fran Unsworth, head of newsgathering, and Ceri Thomas, editor of the BBC’s Today programme, will, meanwhile, fill their roles until replacements are found. On Saturday, George Entwistle quit after admitting that he had no knowledge about the BBC Newsnight investigation, which followed a controversy over a decision by the same programme to drop a separate investigation into child abuse, allegedly involving a senior Tory treasurer - Lord McAlpine.

George Entwistle resigned after BBC Newsnight was forced to issue an “unreserved” apology to Lord McAlpine after it broadcast a report which wrongly accused the senior Conservative of paedophilia, which led to the Tory peer being named online.

Before he quit, George Entwistle warned that the BBC Newsnight scandal could result in disciplinary action against staff and over the weekend MPs demanded that those directly involved in the broadcast were held to account.

The acting director general of the BBC, Tim Davie, and the chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, have concluded that BBC News needs a new clear line of management control. Though Boaden and Mitchell withdrew from their positions, neither of them were in the decision-making chain that led to Newsnight’s broadcast.

The future of Newsnight also seems to be grim as Lord Patten has warned that some “tough managerial decisions” need to be taken in the wake of new developments.

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One Comment add one

  1. Josh says:

    Inaccurate reporting, especially slanderous one, cannot be tolerated…inexcusable…

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